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Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. said Sunday it will use robots to build ships for the first time in the industry to improve efficiency and cut costs.

The world’s largest shipbuilder has recently completed a year of testing of a robotic system that automatically shapes a vessel’s 3-D curved surface at its shipyard in Ulsan, located 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The unmanned system is based on the Internet of Things and automation technologies, and is equipped with a high-frequency inductive heating system and a multi-joint arm, the company said.

Hyundai Heavy plans to add artificial intelligence and more sophisticated technologies in the future.

The system will increase productivity by three times compared with man-made work, as well as improve the quality of the end product, the company said. The company expects the robot will save costs from 100 billion won (US$ 92.3 million) to 200 billion won for the next 10 to 20 years depending on its lifespan.

The Korean shipbuilder is one of the industry leaders in robotic adoption for efficiency, work safety and cost reduction. Robots can substitute for skilled labor in welding, blasting, painting, heavy lifting and other tasks.

In separate news HHI has received an order to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers for an unidentified European shipping company.

Hyundai Heavy did not provide the value of the order.

The shipbuilder said it has received USD 2 billion worth of ship orders as of Monday. The total is for 29 vessels.

Source: Yonhap